Matthew Shea | Hamilton City Council | Hamilton West

This blog is part of a series of blogs profiling all candidates standing for Councils across the region who are 35 or under as we aim to increase youth engagement in local politics. Seed Waikato is non-partisan.

‘Paper’ Matt Shea is not only a great pun, but also a candidate for Hamilton City Council’s West Ward.

Born in Hamilton but raised in Te Kauwhata, Matt studied Law at the University of Waikato and has been a business owner on both sides of the city before moving into education.

In 2019, Matt’s campaign will focus on speeding up our Council’s processes, an actually functional CBD, and giving individuals and communities the autonomy to thrive in our city through responsible decision-making.

You can keep up with Matt on his:


Q&A with Matt

1.     What is your vision for the city?

My vision for the city and politics generally is governance organisations that don’t try and masterplan the lives of its citizens.

In general, it’s hard to disagree with our former Prime Minister Norman Kirk who said something along the lines of “people need someone to love, somewhere to live, somewhere to work and something to hope for."

Life should be simple, and so should politics, so I am hoping to be part of a City Council that can deliver some iteration of this to the people of Hamilton.

2.     Why did you decide to run in this year’s elections?

Because I had to prove to Councillor James Casson that I am a real person.

3.     What are your top 3 priorities in your campaign?

I’m an independent candidate. I have no party affiliations or support and my campaign team is just me and my laptop in my bedroom.

The reality for me is that I will not win a spot on the Council, so my focuses need to be targeted as such.

A key focus for me is on reducing the amount of political speak/jargon in my own communications and presenting things in a manner that makes sense to those outside the snob circle that is politics.

Basically, making politics (slightly) cooler.

4.     What’s been your biggest learning in your campaigning?

That politics is a big game and very little actually gets done.

5.     What do you think needs to be done to engage young people in voting?

Older people tend to vote more than younger people anyway, this is a trend that is seen throughout the world, so we aren’t an outlier in that respect.

The ‘political scene’ is primarily a collection of various different echo chambers. I don’t blame people for not being engaged.

Politicians and political people ‘concerned’ about voter engagement need to quit hosting events amongst their mates and peers only and get out into the real world more. That’d be a great start.

6.     What skills and experience do you bring to the table?

Good takedown defense and a whole lot of hard work. Outside of those key competencies, I have a background in law and I’ve run a bunch of my own businesses in various sectors.

I think all of these skills will be valuable at different times over a 3-year term.

7.     What sets you apart from other candidates?

Because I’m actually cool outside of politics. Most of these other guys are just ‘politics cool’.

Click the image to listen to Matt’s 15-minute radio interview on Free FM’s Free Choice show.

Click the image to listen to Matt’s 15-minute radio interview on Free FM’s Free Choice show.